HMCS Festubert

There has been only one vessel named Festubert in the Royal Canadian Navy.

HMCS Festubert / Battle-class Trawler

HMCS Festubert

The Battle-class trawlers were built during the closing days of First World War. Based on the British Castle-class trawlers, these ships were of slightly larger tonnage than the British ships, and it was the first class with a distinct Canadian designation. All 12 vessels of the class received names for land battles of the First World War in which components of the Canadian Army took part. Many of these vessels also served in the Second World War but five of them exchanged their name for numbers in 1942.

The Battle of Festubert (15-25 May 1915), part of the Second Battle of Artois, was the second major engagement of Canadian troops in the First World War. The Second and Third Infantry Brigades of the First Canadian Division would participate in the attack, along with a division of the Indian Corps. However, neither brigade was given accurate maps, adequate time to prepare, or sufficient firepower to fulfill their role. When the main attack began on 18 May 1915, both the artillery barrage and the troop advance, through muddy, open ground and machine-gun fire, were late. The inaccurate maps crippled the attack, and requests to halt the attack were denied. Nearly 2,500 Canadian troops were killed, wounded or went missing in the battle.

Built at Toronto, HMCS Festubert was commissioned in November 1917. After brief service she was laid from 1918 to 1926. She was then recommissioned for training and other duties on the east coast until again being placed in reserve in November of 1934. For the duration of the Second World War she once more was in service at Halifax, initially in commission and then from 1942 as Gate Vessel 17. Festubert was sold in 1946 for commercial use and renamed Inverleigh. She was scuttled off Burgeo, NL, on 30 June 1971.


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